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ADELAIDE, Australia – Nissan Motorsport got the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship off to a great start after Rick Kelly took a stunning fifth place during a dramatic Race 3 at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last weekend.
Kelly, driver of the #15 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima, fought back from two Pit Lane Drive-Through penalties, plus a delayed pit stop to fix damage, to come home fifth.
Following his sixth and 11th placed results, the result has placed him fifth overall in the title chase.
It was a fraught day for most in pit lane, and while Nissan Motorsport ended the opening event positively, there were hurdles to cross to get there.
Norton driver James Moffat finished ninth and sits 10th in the championship, despite a drive-through penalty for a collision with Will Davison.
The #36 Norton Nissan of Michael Caruso raced brilliantly through the day, but his chance of a strong result was taken away when reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup attempted a bold pass on him at the Turn 9 hairpin. The pair collided, damaging the toe link on the right rear of his Nissan Altima. Caruso salvaged 14th place in the race and currently runs 11th in the championship.
Todd Kelly had the most frustrating day, only completing two laps of the race when a throttle pedal broke on the second lap. He sits 20th in the points standings.
The next event on the V8 Supercars Championship calendar is the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Victoria on March 13-16.
Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima
"What an amazing race!" said Kelly. "There was so much going on out there, I must admit I was extremely surprised by a few things out there. After those two penalties, we were right back, and we had to race really hard. We lost a lap, I managed to get it back, a Safety Car came at the right time for us, we pitted for new tires, and I was able to fight back to fifth. It's probably the most eventful race I can remember having. We've got good points to take away, and we flexed a bit of muscle from Jack Daniel's Racing's point of view to say that we are back."
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
“It was a pretty crazy day for us, so to wind up ninth after all the dramas we had was a great job by everyone in the Norton Nissan team. In regards to the incident with Will (Davison), I'm not sure my penalty was entirely fair. I had to turn in at some point otherwise I was going to run into the fence. It was unfortunate, and you never want that sort of accident to happen. With all the things that were going on, it was a pretty good day, and we'll move onto the Grand Prix. We've got a bit of work to do, so we'll put our heads down and see if we can come up with a better package."
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
“We are pretty disappointed. We had a top five in the bag, there was only 15 laps to go and we were looking pretty comfortable. Jamie (Whincup) went for a pass from pretty far back and slid into me. It broke some arms in the rear of the car and I was out of contention. The boys did a great job to get me back out to finish 14th. Without that incident, we might have been inside the top seven of the championship which would have been nice, but we'll go away and work on it at the Grand Prix."
Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima
"That's pretty hard to take. At the start of the season, to come out of such a big points race with no points on Sunday in Adelaide is not really the way to kick off the season. It's a pretty rough start, but the cars were quite pacey. The positive is that it has only broken a throttle pedal that we couldn't repair in time to get back out, other than that the car is perfectly straight. It's not a huge turn around to get to the next round, and hopefully we can show what the car's true potential is at the Grand Prix."
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